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Test scores improving for Butler County Schools

The Butler County Board of Education discussed the school district’s successes in energy usage and student scores at its regular meeting Tuesday night at the Butler County Education Complex.
Vonda Jennings reported to the Board on improvements in school district scores.  The Butler County School District made dramatic improvement in the last year, scoring in the 77th percentile statewide and ranking 70th out of 174 Kentucky school districts in 2012-13; the previous year, Butler County ranked 149th.  Jennings praised the Board for its support, while Superintendent Scott Howard talked on how much teachers are using the new Reading Street reading module.  Jennings said the school district is classified as “Proficient and Progressing.”
Jimmy Arnold presented the school district’s Energy Report, an area where Butler County has outperformed most of Kentucky.  Butler County was the first school district in the state to have all its schools achieve Energy Star ratings, and for the third year in a row Butler County had the best Energy Use Index in Kentucky.  The district has lowered its index steadily since 2009, and its 2013  index was 35.2 kiloBTU per square foot; Arnold said that by way of comparison, industry average is 64.5 kiloBTU per square foot.  Arnold told the Board he watches against sudden increases in electric use which would trigger “spike rates” as high as $13.68 per kilowatt hour.  Howard added that a recent Kentucky School Board Association article featured Arnold and the school system for being the top system three years in a row in energy efficiency.
Eric Elms proposed that the Board purchase the AESOP Program, computer software that tracks hours worked by teachers and that will call substitute teachers when someone calls in sick.  Elms said that Warren, Edmonson, and Ohio Counties all use AESOP, and the program makes it “tremendously easier to keep up with” teacher tracking.  AESOP has an initial cost of $7,000 and estimated annual cost of $6,250.  The Board approved the purchase of the AESOP Program.
Howard discussed a proposed Board resolution on state funding of local school districts.  While the Butler County School District has achieved a Proficient rating, Howard said the rating and the district’s improvements may soon “come to a screeching halt” unless the school district gets full funding from state government.  He stated that teachers have not had a raise since 2009, and Vonda Jennings added that the 2009 raise was 1 percent.  Howard said that 2014 is a budget session for the legislature, and despite initial resistance by lawmakers to the growing push by many school districts for increased funding, Howard stated that some lawmakers are starting to understand where the various school districts are coming from.  Howard added, “We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t fight for our kids.”
Local recipients of the KSBA First Degree Scholarship were named; Howard said that Matthew Moore and Allie Romans won the $250 scholarships, and each are eligible for a drawing for an additional $2,500.
In other business, Howard recommended Board member Karen Evans as the Superintendent’s designee as Governor’s Scholar Program judge.  The Council approved the recommendation.  The Council also approved a revision in the FY 14 CTE Fund 2 Budget, and it approved the FY 14 Consolidated District Improvement Plan.

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Story by Don Thomason, Beech Tree News


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